After sweeping the final four games of the season and coming back to win the division, the Dodgers open the National League Division Series Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Their opponent will be the NL East champion Atlanta Braves.
Before the weekend in San Francisco, the Dodgers were in line to play on the road — now we know in Chicago — in the NL wild card game. Thanks to Atlanta losing four of the last five games of the season, including the final two, the Dodgers ended up with home field for the first round.
The Dodgers won five of the seven meetings between the clubs in the regular season, including three of four in Atlanta.
In games started by Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill against the Braves in 2018, the Dodgers were 3-0 while the trio posted a 0.90 ERA, allowing one run in 20 innings with 20 strikeouts and one walk. Hill could be a possibility for a Game 4 in the series.
Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu are the likely starters for Los Angeles in the first two games of the series. They haven’t been officially named but manager Dave Roberts said that’s how the team was leaning during the celebration after Game 163 Monday.
Walker Buehler is most likely to pitch Game 3, coming off his dominant performance Monday to beat the Rockies.
The Braves will counter with Mike Foltynewicz in Game 1, the only announced starter to this point. Possibilities for Game 2 include Kevin Gausman, Anibal Sanchez and Julio Teheran. Gausman would be on regular rest after pitching Sunday and finished the season with a 2.87 ERA in a Braves uniform over 10 starts after he was acquired in mid-August from Baltimore.
Foltynewicz gave up four runs on six hits and three walks in five innings July 27 at Dodger Stadium, with the Braves losing that game 4-1.
“We’ve wanted Folty to be The Guy for a couple years, and right now, I think he’s establishing himself as our legit first guy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters Tuesday. “It wasn’t a hard decision at all.”
Snitker also hinted at lefty Sean Newcomb getting a start at some point in this series, saying how they pitch after Game 1 might be matchup oriented.
Dodgers-Braves NLDS schedule
Game 1: Thursday, Oct. 4 at Dodger Stadium, 5:37 p.m. PT (MLB Network)
Game 2: Friday, Oct. 5 at Dodger Stadium, 6:37 p.m. PT (FS1)
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 7 at SunTrust Park, 5:07 p.m. PT (FS1)
Game 4*: Monday, Oct. 8 at SunTrust Park, TBD (FS1)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Dodger Stadium, TBD (FS1)